The Conservative MP for Norwich North, Chole Smith, has expressed her support for changing the law to allow gay couples to have a civil marriage and heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership. Currently they are prohibited by law.
Ms Smith made her commitment when she spoke in a Question Time panel discussion at Norwich Gay Pride on Saturday 30 July. She shared a platform with gay human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell challenged Ms Smith: “Do you support an end to the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships?”
Ms Smith responded with an emphatic: “Yes”. The audience of 200 people erupted in tumultous applause.
Commenting on Ms Smith’s public commitment to opening up civil marriages and civil partnerships to all couples, without discrimination based on sexual orientation, Mr Tatchell said:
“Chloe’s support is much appreciated. She received a very warm and enthusiatic response from the audience. I think many were surprised. She is one of the very few Tory MPs to support gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, endorses the right of gay couples to marry, but David Cameron, George Osborne and most Conservative MPs are still resisting calls for equality.
“I hope Ms Smith’s endorsement will embolden other Tory MPs to support full equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law,” said Mr Tatchell, who is the coordinator of Equal Love, the campaign to reform the law to ensure that all couples – gay and straight – have the legal right to have either a civil marraige or a civil partnership.